When we moved to Moldova, I had only briefly met Eric and Stephanie Chapman, the missionaries we would be working with for the next two years, and Josh had only talked to Eric on the phone a couple of times.
We didn't take a "vision trip." We didn't even really ask them many questions before we left. We just went.
I remember looking out the window of their car as we drove the hour and a half drive from the airport to the tiny village that would become home for us. I stared at the rolling hills and the gated homes as I tried to keep up with Eric and Stephanie, who were, it seemed to my travel-weary and jet-lagged brain, talking a million miles an hour. On that drive I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "Well... I hope we like it here, because we're here."
Of course by now you know that we didn't just wind up liking Moldova, we love it. And we didn't just get along with the Chapmans, they became at the same time like parents and friends to us. At one point I told Stephanie that she is a lot cooler than I thought she'd be when we first met. I'm serious! My first impression of her, after a very brief meeting in a rainy parking lot in Louisville, could not have been more wrong.
So it was amusing and moving to read Eric's recent account of his first impressions of us when we came to Moldova. You can read his story and his kind words about us in The Beauty and The Geek on his blog, Another Country. Both Beauty and Geek are a little exaggerated descriptions of us, but his kind words mean a lot to us. In Eric's defense, he said that Josh self-described as a geek in a conversation once, so he just ran with it.
It's funny because he mentions giving us an honorable way out by having us come for three months and then go back to America for three months (because of visa restrictions, you can only stay in the country for 90 days without a living permit, which we didn't get right away)... he said SO MANY TIMES, "If you come back in March..." that we started to think they didn't want us to come back!
Of course, now we know that they did want us back, and I'd go back in a heartbeat if God told us that's where he wanted us!